Screen_Shot_2016-04-21_at_8.34.01_PMNow, while the Government of Guatemala is claiming that BDF soldiers surprised Alvarado and his sons and opened fire on them as they were planting pumpkin seeds between 6:00 and 7:00 yesterday evening, a release from the Government of Belize is relating a different story.

GOB is saying that according to initial reports, yesterday Belizean security forces were on a patrol in the Cebada area of the Chiquibul National Park in western Belize to investigate illegal clearings when at about 5:00 p.m. they detained without incident, 33 year old Guatemalan national Jose Maria Antonio Reyes, who was found conducting illegal activities in the Chiquibul National Park.

As darkness descended later in the day, at about 7:00 p.m. the patrol came under fire and in self-defence returned fire then decided to depart from the location which is approximately 580 meters east of the border. The release further states that prior to departure Belizean security forces conducted their standard clearance procedure and discovered the seemingly lifeless body of a minor later identified as that of Julio Alvarado. The minor was transported to the nearest hospital where he was pronounced dead. As for Jose Maria Antonio Reyes, the release states that he was transferred to the custody of the San Ignacio Police where he awaits an appearance before a Magistrate.

At the end of the release the Government of Belize states that they quote “very much regret any loss of life and will be conducting its own investigation. The Government remains concerned about illegal activities along our borders and will continue to engage the OAS and the Government of Guatemala with a view to stemming the illicit activities of Guatemalan civilians who are becoming increasingly more violent toward our security and law enforcement authorities.” End of quote.  The Government of Belize, we understand, has requested the support of the Organization of American States, (OAS) in conducting a verification exercise to ascertain the facts surrounding the shooting incident.

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